Europe’s Top TV Network RTL Group Sees Profits Rocket as Ad Market Improves

RTL Group revenue drops 1.8% to $8.09 billion as FremantleMedia sees revenue slip

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FRANKFURT, Germany — RTL Group, Europe’s largest broadcast network and owner of FremantleMedia, has reported profits up 45.7% to Euros 870 million ($1.2 billion) in 2013.

EBITA was up 6.9% to Euros 1.15 billion ($1.58 billion). EBITA margin was at 19.6%, compared with 18% in 2012.

Revenue dropped 1.8% to Euros 5.89 billion ($8.09 billion) as higher revenues from RTL’s Dutch channels group, RTL Nederland, and its German group, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, were offset by lower revenue from FremantleMedia, which produces and distributes shows like “Idol,” “Got Talent” and “X Factor,” and the effect of exchange rate fluctuations.

The TV advertising market improved in most of RTL Group’s European territories, which include Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands, over the second half of 2013.

Digital revenues saw a 26% hike to Euros 236 million ($324 million) due to both organic growth and acquisitions.

Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland achieved its best financial result ever: EBITA was up 7.1% to Euros 622 million ($854 million), driven by higher ad revenue and tight cost controls. Audience market share was 30.6% for the 14-59 target demo, ahead of ProSiebenSat.1, which had 25.2%.

Groupe M6 in France upped TV ad market share, but EBITA was down to Euros 207 million ($284 million), mainly due to start-up losses for digital channel 6ter, which launched in December 2012. Its audience share was 16.2% among the target demo, housewives under 50, and 14.9% overall.

Anke Schaeferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, co-CEOs of RTL Group, said: “We have made good progress in strengthening our core businesses and in building new growth engines, especially in the digital world.

“We have already started a lot of initiatives, but we want to do more.

“Based on our very healthy financial position, we have the investment capacity to explore opportunities across our three strategic pillars: broadcast, content and digital.”